The Homework Revolution MAG

June 12, 2009
By SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell


A young girl sits at her desk, reviewing her homework assignments for the evening. English: read three chapters and write a journal response. Math: complete 30 problems, showing all work. Science: do a worksheet, front and back. French: study vocabulary for tomorrow's test. It's going to be a long night.

This describes a typical weeknight for students across the country. Now is the time to start a homework revolution.

Do students in the United States receive too much homework? According to guidelines endorsed by the National Education Association (NEA), a student should be assigned no more than 10 minutes per grade level per night. For example, a first grader should only have 10 minutes of homework, a second grader, 20 minutes, and so on. This means that a student in my grade – seventh – should have no more than 70 minutes of work each night. Yet this is often doubled, sometimes even tripled!

There are negatives to overloading students. Have you ever heard of a child getting sick because of homework? According to William Crain, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at City College of New York and the author of Reclaiming Childhood, “Kids are developing more school-related stomachaches, headaches, sleep problems, and depression than ever before.” The average student is glued to his or her desk for almost seven hours a day. Add two to four hours of homework each night, and they are working a 45- to 55-hour week!

In addition, a student who receives excessive homework “will miss out on active playtime, essential for learning social skills, proper brain development, and warding off childhood obesity,” according to Harris Cooper, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University.

Everybody knows that teachers are the ones who assign homework, but they do not deserve all the blame. “Many teachers are under greater pressure than ever before,” says Kylene Beers, president of the National Council for Teachers of English and the author of When Kids Can't Read What Teachers Can Do. “Some of it comes from parents, some from the administration and the desire for high scores on standardized tests.” Teachers who are under pressure feel the need to assign more homework. But why aren't teachers aware of the NEA homework recommendations? Many have never heard of them, have never taken a course about good versus bad homework, how much to give, and the research behind it. And many colleges of education do not offer specific training in homework. Teachers are just winging it.

Although some teachers and parents believe that assigning a lot of homework is beneficial, a Duke University review of a number of studies found almost no correlation between homework and long-term achievements in elementary school and only a moderate correlation in middle school. “More is not better,” concluded Cooper, who conducted the review.

Is homework really necessary? Most teachers assign homework as a drill to improve memorization of material. While drills and repetitive exercises have their place in schools, homework may not be that place. If a student does a math worksheet with 50 problems but completes them incorrectly, he will likely fail the test. According to the U.S. Department of Education, most math teachers can tell after checking five algebraic equations whether a student understood the necessary concepts. Practicing dozens of homework problems incorrectly only cements the wrong method.

Some teachers believe that assigning more homework will help improve standardized test scores. However, in countries like the Czech Republic, Japan, and Denmark, which have higher-scoring students, teachers give little homework. The United States is among the most homework-intensive countries in the world for seventh and eighth grade, so more homework clearly does not mean a higher test score.

Some people argue that homework toughens kids up for high school, college, and the workforce. Too much homework is sapping students' strength, curiosity, and most importantly, their love of learning. Is that really what teachers and parents want?

If schools assign less homework, it would benefit teachers, parents, and students alike. Teachers who assign large amounts of homework are often unable to do more than spot-check answers. This means that many errors are missed. Teachers who assign less homework will be able to check it thoroughly. In addition, it allows a teacher time to focus on more important things. “I had more time for planning when I wasn't grading thousands of problems a night,” says math teacher Joel Wazac at a middle school in Missouri. “And when a student didn't understand something, instead of a parent trying to puzzle it out, I was there to help them.” The result of assigning fewer math problems: grades went up and the school's standardized math scores are the highest they've ever been. A student who is assigned less homework will live a healthy and happy life. The family can look forward to stress-free, carefree nights and, finally, the teachers can too.

Some schools are already taking steps to improve the issue. For example, Mason-Rice Elementary School in Newton, Massachusetts, has limited homework, keeping to the “10 minute rule.” Raymond Park Middle School in Indianapolis has written a policy instructing teachers to “assign homework only when you feel the assignment is valuable.” The policy also states, “A night off is better than homework which serves no worthwhile purpose.” Others, such as Oak Knoll Elementary School in Menlo Park, California, have considered eliminating homework altogether. If these schools can do it, why can't everyone?

So, my fellow Americans, it's time to stop the insanity. It's time to start a homework revolution.



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This article has 816 comments.


Letters345 said...
on Nov. 17 2009 at 11:30 am
My favroit snacks are pudding and chocklet pudding!! Big tubs of chocklet PUDDING!!!!! I LOVE PUDDING!!!!!!!!

Letters345 said...
on Nov. 17 2009 at 11:20 am
LOL writting another essay on shot school days? Leave THAT to me!!! i HATE school!!

Letters345 said...
on Nov. 17 2009 at 11:15 am
EXACTY!!!!!! If u wanna change it, DO SOMETHING!! join up on the web site!! Rally ur friends!! Start a protest! SOMETHING!! Don't just sit there and WAIT for evryone elts to change the world! If u feel strongly about this, make the effort to change the system!

Letters345 said...
on Nov. 17 2009 at 11:04 am
I wanna help with the logo!!! Plz??

Letters345 said...
on Nov. 17 2009 at 10:57 am
Nope!!!!!!

NO WAY!! said...
on Nov. 17 2009 at 9:34 am
american students have it far more easier.....the homework may be too much but the level of studies is sooo low.

What you learn in 10th grade, we indians learn in 5th grade.

on Nov. 17 2009 at 8:23 am
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

Oh, we're getting off topic!

on Nov. 17 2009 at 8:12 am
Urbs2013 BRONZE, Not Listed, New York
4 articles 2 photos 62 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things."

yup, gotta have the snacks

on Nov. 16 2009 at 3:52 pm
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

Yes, definitely snack time.

Letters345 said...
on Nov. 16 2009 at 12:44 pm
I don't like school, but more time will help, as log as we get snack time: I'm starving byt schools out.

Kavishg BRONZE said...
on Nov. 16 2009 at 6:44 am
Kavishg BRONZE, Newton, Massachusetts
2 articles 0 photos 39 comments
Well, better teachers would be good also.

on Nov. 15 2009 at 6:05 pm
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

A brilliant solution to our problem would be less/no homework and better teachers, not necessarily a longer school day. You could have a longer school day, but have horrible teachers. Now, that wouldn't help, would it? Besides, I don't want to find myself writing a whole, new essay on shorter school days!

Kavishg BRONZE said...
on Nov. 15 2009 at 5:40 pm
Kavishg BRONZE, Newton, Massachusetts
2 articles 0 photos 39 comments
You know, I just looked it up, China has been giving less hw and having longer school days..... THATS WHAT WE SHOULD DO!!!!(I am Indian btw not Chinese its just chinese people have good strategies)

on Nov. 15 2009 at 4:42 pm
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

Aww, it's O.K. I think I was just overly frustrated. Anyway, a school day that would be just as beneficial, but with less/no homework would help students, would help America, would help THE WORLD tremendously. Don't you agree?

Kavishg BRONZE said...
on Nov. 15 2009 at 1:10 pm
Kavishg BRONZE, Newton, Massachusetts
2 articles 0 photos 39 comments
Sorry about the name issue

Kavishg BRONZE said...
on Nov. 15 2009 at 12:28 pm
Kavishg BRONZE, Newton, Massachusetts
2 articles 0 photos 39 comments
You are right..... TheRealTruth was only my screen name for against someone named "the truth".... This is not critising you, but at my school I have never seen anyone really overstressed so thats probably why I thought what I thought. I did some research after seeing your post and I saw that you were actually right. But with less hw, Americans will be even more far behind. So I thought, what could help that??? I think that less hw and more school time (til like 430) would be good. Thanks for your input, it really helped me see the terrible parts of hw. I couldn't look outside my own little bubble in my own town. Thanks a LOT!!!!

on Nov. 15 2009 at 11:15 am
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

But, thanks for saying "great article". That's probably the only positive thing you said. And, thanks for the critism. I'll take that into mind the next time I'm sitting in the doctors office with a flu, due to my weakened immune system from stress.

on Nov. 15 2009 at 11:13 am
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

Complete stereotype, I have to say. You do not understand the facts my friend. I NEVER SAID NO HOMEWORK. I just said less. We can make school a little bit more vigorous, but with less work to do after the fact. Students around the country, no the WORLD, are gaining anxiety and stressing issues due to the strenous work, which could lead to juveineille heart attacks, high blood pressure, obsesity, etc. And, America worries so much about competing with other countries that they overlook the fact that some children are dying due to homework matters. So, my friend, look at the truth, do some research, etc, the next time you cmment. Because, although your screenname is "The Real Truth", you are speaking a lie. One day, you will see the horrors that homework presents. We shall change the world. One step at a time.

Kavishg BRONZE said...
on Nov. 14 2009 at 3:39 pm
Kavishg BRONZE, Newton, Massachusetts
2 articles 0 photos 39 comments
Ok, I would love to have no hw, but this article is somewhat false. U.S children get it EASY!!!!! Many Asian countries such as China have no summer vacation and have school 6 days of the week!!!!!! Thats why Indians and Chinese people get the best jobs in America. Americans are just lazy!!! I hate to say it, as i am an American, but most Chinese Children work very very hard. With less homework, most Americans are not able to compete with Chinese and Indian people competing for the same job, as they got so much more education. Hw is bad, but i think the "10 minute" rule is a little too short. I am in seventh grade, and 70 minutes just seems a little too short unless I don't do a good job. Even if I had 5 worksheets it shouldn't only take you an hour. I agree, 4 hrs of homework is a little too much, but to compete with other countries we need as much education as possible. About sleep, I think teachers should teach time saving strategies so this does not happen. Still, GREAT ARTICLE!!!

on Nov. 13 2009 at 8:11 am
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

Did anyone get their Teen Ink yet?


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